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Following the MLB Draft

9:11 AM – I just got on the computer and on MLB’s draft coverage. The last I had heard was that the Royals were looking at Andrew Miller or Brad Lincoln with the first pick but word this morning is they are leaning toward Luke Hochevar (pronounced ho-CHE-var). Hochevar was drafted by the Dodgers last year but didn’t sign and there’s no denying he is among the best pitchers available in this draft. I like him more than Lincoln and he’s right there with Miller in my opinion. If there are signability issues with Lincoln and Miller, Hochevar would be a very good choice. Plus, if the Royals pick Hochevar, that means the next three picks are likely Miller, Lincoln, and Evan Longoria in some order, which means the Mariners are very likely to have the opportunity to draft Tim Lincecum!

9:41 AM – Saw a great Twins ad on the draftcast. It featured Torii Hunter swinging at a piƱata and absolutely destroying it.

9:42 AM – Just saw a Mariners ad on the draftcast! It was the Ichiro one.

9:49 AM – MLB is talking about Drew Stubbs for the second time. He is a great athlete, but he should not be a first round pick. MLB.com’s draft expert even said of Stubbs that he has a ton of talent but he has a bunch of holes in his swing and struggles to hit against good pitching. Hello? Anybody home? EVERYONE in the Major Leagues is a good pitcher! He could turn out to be the next Mike Cameron, which would make him a solid pick at the top of the draft, but I am not confident he will turn out to be even that good. His strikeout rate would scare me off if I were running a team.

10:01 AM – MLB.com just had their two experts start predicting the picks. Both had the Mariners picking Brandon Morrow, and one expert went as far to say that he’s confident that’s where Morrow is going. Not a bad pick, but there are other pitchers I like more. Both their experts have Drew Stubbs going at number eight! One guy has Tim Lincecum going to the Blue Jays at 14 and mentioned he’s heard Lincecum could be going at 12 to the Rangers. Lincecum didn’t even go in the first round on the other guy’s board. Scouts don’t like that he is short. Never mind he’s had no injury concerns, throws in the mid-90s, and has dominated for three years.

10:05 AM – First pick of the draft is in! The Royals did take Luke Hochevar, as was expected this morning.

10:06 AM – Rockies take Greg Reynolds, pitcher out of Stanford. I don’t think this is a great pick. Evan Longoria is expected to go next.

10:07 AM – Devil Rays take Evan Longoria. Wow, the MLB draft does go fast!

10:08 AM – Pirates take Brad Lincoln, Andrew Miller is falling fast thanks to signability issues. The Mariners are next!

10:09 AM – The Mariners take Brandon Morrow. I would have taken Lincecum or Miller, but Morrow had a great season. He just doesn’t have as long of a track record of success as Lincecum. Oh well, maybe Lincecum falls all the way to the second round?

10:10 AM – The Tigers take Andrew Miller, so the consensus best player is finally off the board. Detroit has a great young pitching staff already and Miller makes them even stronger. It’s scary to think how good their pitching will be in a few years.

10:11 AM – The Dodgers take Clayton Kershaw, the first high-schooler off the board. Risky pick, but the Dodgers have a very strong farm system and can afford to take a risk.

10:12 AM – The Reds take Drew Stubbs. I can’t believe he is this high of a pick.

10:13 AM – Orioles take Billy Rowell, a high school shortstop. He’s 6’5”. Can you see the Cal Ripken Jr. comparisons?

10:15 AM – Giants take Tim Lincecum! Fantastic pick! My buddy Peter should be extremely happy. I told him last night that I saw the Mariners taking Lincecum and the Giants having a chance to take Morrow. It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

10:16 AM – Diamondbacks take Max Scherzer. Another pitcher I liked more than Brandon Morrow. Very good pick.

10:17 AM – Rangers take Kris Kiker, a high school pitcher with huge strikeout numbers and a 0.52 ERA. I like all the “K”s in his name.

10:18 AM – Cubs take Tyler Colvin, an OF from Clemson. Didn’t see this coming at all.

10:19 AM – Blue Jays take Travis Snider out of Jackson High! My buddy Kevin went to Jackson High and he must be excited. I remember when K.C. Herren was drafted from my high school in the second round and how exciting that was.

10:20 AM – Chris Marrero goes to the Nationals, a high school position player. Where are all the pitchers?

10:21 AM – Brewers take Jeremy Jeffres, a high school pitcher. He’s been clocked at 100 MPH and he has been compared to Dwight Gooden.

10:22 AM – Padres take Matt Antonelli, 3B from Wake Forest. Antonelli has been talked about as one of the finest hitters in the draft and he’s off the board. One guy just called Grady Fuson a moneyball guy. Ridiculous! More on that later…

10:23 AM – Phillies take Kyle Drabeck. Some say Drabeck has the best stuff in the whole draft, but there are character issues, and he’s a high school pitcher. Risky pick for sure.

10:24 AM – Marlins select Brett Sinkbeil out of Missouri State. I have no clue about this guy. He’s a pitcher with a big fastball according to the MLB.com guys.

10:25 AM – Twins take Chris Parmalee, a high school outfielder. Once again, don’t know much about this guy.

10:26 AM – Yankees take Ian Kennedy, a pitcher out of USC. Since he’s a Yankee, I hope he fails.

10:27 AM – Nationals take Colton Willems, another high school pitcher. Did you know that only about 65% of high-schooler picked in the first round even MAKE the big leagues, and the odds of a high school pitcher making it are even worse. Yet people still pick them.

10:28 AM – Max Sapp, a high school catcher, goes to Houston. Good bat, bad defense apparently.

10:29 AM – Braves select Cody Johnson, and outfielder out of high school. Lots of Florida kids going off the board right now. The Braves almost always go with high-schoolers early, so this shouldn’t be a real big surprise.

10:30 AM – Angels take Hyun Choi Conger, another high school hitter. Angels said they wanted to take a high-schooler.

10:31 AM – Dodgers take Brian Morris, a guy who was drafted last year but didn’t sign with the Devil Rays. Most people projected him to go higher.

10:32 AM – Red Sox take Jason Place, a high school outfielder out of South Carolina. He’s been compared to Drew Stubbs by the MLB.com guys. Oh boy.

10:33 AM – Red Sox take Daniel Bard, pitcher out of North Carolina. I don’t like him as much as most people, but he was supposed to go way higher. Good pick. “He just needs to perform” according to the MLB.com scout. Brilliant analysis.

10:35 AM – White Sox take Kyle McCulloch, a pitcher from the Texas Longhorns. Chicago needs hitters, not pitchers.

10:35 AM – Cardinals select Adam Ottavino, a pitcher from Northeastern. A college pitcher, but I don’t know much about him at all. First round complete!

10:36 AM – I said I’d talk about Grady Fuson being a moneyball guy and how stupid that comment was. Grady Fuson was the head scout of the Oakland Athletics when Billy Beane was hired as the A’s GM, but as anyone who has read Moneyball knows, the two did not see eye-to-eye at all. Eventually, Fuson was fired by Beane because he was the antithesis of a “moneyball guy.”

10:37 AM – MLB really needs to get the draft on television. The names aren’t as big, but the whole first round took just half an hour! College baseball is a bigger deal now too, so some people know some of these names, and there are plenty of people across the nation that would tune in to see where their local kid goes.

10:49 AM – This is cool, the actual draft goes really fast, but now there is a break between the first round and the sandwich round (the sandwich round is comprised of compensatory draft picks for lost free agents). I don’t know if the break is here for MLB.com coverage purposes or if it has always been a part of the draft, but I really like this format much more than plodding through the process like the NFL does.

10:50 AM – Terrible pun. “When we come back, we’ll be eating some sandwiches! We’ll explain when we come back!” Hmm, are the sandwich picks coming?

10:54 AM – If you want to see all the picks, check out MLB.com. I did list all the first-rounders, but now I’m just going to start highlighting certain picks. I’ll have all the Mariner picks of course, but I won’t guarantee having all the picks for any other team.

10:55 AM – Bad sandwich puns aside, the three guys MLB.com has covering the draft are doing a very good job. I keep saying “this one guy” and “the other guy”, so I might as well give you their names. The two scouts are Allan Simpson and Jonathan Mayo, and I don’t know the name of the guy who made the bad sandwich joke.

10:57 AM – The Dodger took Preston Mattingly, son of Don Mattingly. Based on Simpson’s reaction, this is a bad pick. Apparently was picked way too high thanks to the great bloodlines.

11:10 AM – The Mariners just made their second pick and with it they chose Chris Tillman, a high school pitcher out of California. According to MLB.com he has one of the most projectable bodies in the draft, a fastball in the low 90s and a big overhand curve. He also apparently underachieved this last year too. This does not sound like a good pick to me at all, especially with a number of the 15 I highlighted still available.

11:14 AM – Chad Huffman, one of those 15 guys I hoped the Mariners were looking at, just went to the Padres. He’s listed as a second baseman by MLB.com, though I had him at first. It looks like the Padres are definitely taking a Moneyball approach despite Grady Fuson.

11:16 AM – Steven Wright, another one of the 15 I listed, was just drafted by the Indians.

11:17 AM – I forgot to mention that Ronald Bourquin, a guy who was just outside my 15 guys the M’s should look at, was drafted by the Tigers before the Mariners’ second pick. Another guy who I was looking at but didn’t mention, Josh Rodriguez, was just picked by the Indians (Cleveland had back-to-back picks).

11:19 AM – Wade LeBlanc, another of those 15, was just selected by the Padres.

11:25 AM – The Athetics just picked a high-schooler! They picked some high-schoolers last year too! The moneyball approach has clearly evolved.

11:26 AM – Geek statement: “I think the Mets would be thrilled if they got this year’s Matt Garza.”

11:28 AM – Another local guy is off the board. The Nationals just drafted Stephen Englund, an outfielder from Bellevue high school.

11:31 AM – Jon Jay was just picked by the Cardinals. He was one of my favorite 15 guys to watch. I get the feeling the Mariners may really be blowing it.

11:40 AM – We’re through the first round, the first sandwich round, and the second round, and 9 of the 15 players I said the Mariners should be looking at have been drafted. I should also note that Luke Hopkins is a sophomore, so he should not have been on my list. To be honest, I did not expect to have as many of the guys I listed drafted at this point.

11:45 AM – Casey Stern is the name of the host of MLB.com’s coverage. I had mentioned earlier I didn’t know his name, so now I (and you) know.

11:46 AM – With their third pick, the Mariners selected another high school pitcher, Anthony Butler. He is from Wisconsin and I cannot find a bio for him. Another pick I am leery of. Seattle really needs some pitching prospects and I don’t like how risky they are being with all the high-schoolers. He is a left-hander.

11:50 AM – Cyle Hankerd, a guy who almost made my 15 to watch, was just drafted by the Diamondbacks.

11:51 AM – According to Allan Simpson, the M’s most recent pick was thought of as a possible late first-rounder and also played basketball. He’s apparently 6’7” and is obviously a good athlete. I feel better about the pick, but I still don’t love it.

11:53 AM – The Nationals just picked a guy named Stephen King. Let the bad jokes involving horror writing begin.

11:54 AM – Cole Gillespie was just drafted by the Brewers. I really loved him too. He would have been even higher on my list of 15 to watch if not for the injuries.

11:59 AM – Another high-schooler picked by the A’s! They haven’t drafted a college player yet! Unbelievable.

12:00 PM – Casey Stern’s comment about Stephen King: “Nothing scary about his play on the field.” Ugh.

12:10 PM – Another geek statement, this one about middle infielder Adam Davis, who was picked by the Indians: “He’s a more athletic Dustin Pedroia, not to take anything from Dustin Pedroia.” Sadly, I understand the comment because I loved Pedroia coming out of college and he is currently playing at AAA Pawtucket in the Red Sox system, in case you are wondering.

12:13 PM – Allan Simpson just mentioned Eddie Degerman, and said there are concerns about his delivery (apparently it is weird). Now I finally know why he has fallen.

12:19 PM – The Mariners fourth choice is in, and it is Enrique Orta, a pitcher out of the University of Miami(FL). I don’t know anything about this guy, but at least he’s from an extremely good college program. Pitching was a need, but Seattle really needs to develop a first baseman in the next couple years. I would have gone with Cooper or Strieby here.

12:19 PM – I can’t believe this. The Tigers pick Ryan Strieby RIGHT AFTER THE M’S PASSED ON HIM. There aren’t many of my 15 to watch left.

12:25 PM – Of the 15 I said to watch, four are left right now: Craig Cooper, Eddie Degerman, Luke Hopkins, and Whit Robbins. However, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have included Hopkins because he is only a sophomore and therefore not eligible for the draft. So there are really only three on the list left.

12:26 PM – Make that two. The Twins just took Whit Robbins.

12:35 PM – Scouting reports use their own language. This is what MLB.com had to say about Judson Morris, a pitcher just picked by the Indians: “Pitchability plus projectability makes a prospect.”

12:42 PM – Eddie Degerman just got picked by the Cardinals at the end of the fourth round. They got Jon Jay and Eddie Degerman, two of my favorite prospects in the whole draft. I really, really hope the Mariners are looking at Craig Cooper now. Outside of the ineligible Hopkins, he’s the only one of the 15 I hoped the Mariners were looking at that is still on the board.

12:55 PM – The Mariners selected Nathan Adcock, a high school pitcher from Kentucky, with their fifth pick. They’ve taken so many pitchers at this point one of them is bound to pan out, even if three of them are high-schoolers.

12:57 PM – A couple picks before the M’s the Devil Rays picked a local shortstop, Shawn O’Malley, from Southridge High School.

12:59 PM – I am disappointed in the Mariners draft so far. If you pick high school pitchers the odds say you have to pick them in bunches because so few pan out, so I see the strategy. However, unless they are planning to move some of their middle infield prospects to first, they really need to address the position. Otherwise, they will be desperately picking a bunch of first baseman a couple years from now, kind of like they are desperately picking a bunch of pitchers this year.

1:02 PM – Extremely interesting back-to-back picks! First, the Cubs took Jeff Samardzija, the star wide receiver for Notre Dame who will likely be a top 10 pick in the NFL draft if he returns to school for his senior season (which he will). He can throw hard, but he’s not that good of a pitcher. The pick will get plenty of publicity, but it was a really stupid one by the Cubs. After the Cubs, the Blue Jays picked Luke Hopkins! So, he was eligible and now there is truly only one guy left from my list of 15 prospects to watch. This only makes me angrier at the Mariners for not addressing first base.

1:27 PM – Mariners just took a catcher with their sixth pick, Adam Moore from Texas-Arlington. How can the Mariners take this guy, yet another catcher, ahead of Craig Cooper?! Bill Bavasi must be in love with catchers.

1:33 PM – Padres just took Tim Bascom, a guy who almost made my 15 to watch.

1:38 PM – Yankees just took Mitch Hilligoss, another guy who nearly made my 15 to watch.

1:39 PM – In case you are wondering, here are the rest of the guys that didn’t make my 15 to watch that I was intrigued by and are still available: Adam Amar, Tim Norton, Zach Dillon, Thomas Berkery, Ryan Khoury, Tyler Mach, Justin Johnson, David Freese, Mike Goetz, Daniel Nava, Brad Boyer, Toddric Johnson, Nathan Southard, and Sam Carter.

1:43 PM – M’s latest pick is Douglas Fister, a pitcher from Fresno State. I don’t know anything about him. He’s tall at 6’8”, so I’m guessing he probably throws pretty hard.

1:45 PM – I’m listening to MLB radio now and they are piping the actual feed that all the major league teams hear and use for the draft. Each team has a guy who announces the draft pick, usually a scout or the GM. However, Tommy Lasorda is announcing the Dodgers’ picks and he is by far the most colorful and fun to listen to. I look forward to every Dodger pick now.

1:50 PM – The last of my 15 to watch just went off the board. Craig Cooper was selected by the Padres. San Diego picked 3 of the 15 I listed yesterday and also Tim Bascom, a guy who I almost put in the 15 to watch. Needless to say, I think they have done extremely well in the draft.

1:52 PM – I hope the Mariners know what they are doing with those high school pitchers and that they start to pick some position players, specifically a first baseman. Adam Amar works for me. They picked Brad Boyer last year but he didn’t sign, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the M’s pick him again in the next few rounds.

1:54 PM – Tim Norton, a guy I seriously considered for the top 15, was just picked by the Yankees.

1:56 PM – Another pitcher for the Mariners, Steven Richard. I don’t know anything about this guy either, except that he is listed at 6’3” and 240 pounds, so he is really built.

1:57 PM – The Reds just picked Travis Webb, the first WSU Cougar off the board.

2:00 PM – I should look for a job with the Padres. They just picked Thomas King, a shortstop from Troy. Though he wasn’t a finalist for my 15 to watch list, I took a hard look at him and I took a look at almost every single guy they have drafted.

2:05 PM – The Mariners just picked again and, surprise, another pitcher. This time Justin Souza from Sacramento Community College, another guy I haven’t heard of. However, I’ve heard of almost none of the last 100 guys picked, yet I still find the draft captivating.

2:10 PM – Absolutely amazing. The Padres just selected David Freese, yet another guy who almost cracked my 15 to watch that San Diego has selected.

2:16 PM – With their tenth round pick, the Mariners mixed it up and went with a position player, Christopher Minaker, a shortstop from Stanford. Minaker grew up in Washington, so he is a local product! Still waiting for a first baseman…

2:20 PM – The Blue Jays just took Scott Campbell, the first player from Gonzaga off the board.

2:31 PM – MLB radio was just talking about Enrique Orta, one of the pitchers the Mariners picked that I know extremely little about. Apparently he has an extremely live arm, one that many said was one of the livest in South Florida. There is tons of talent in Florida so that is saying something.

2:37 PM – Mariners latest pick is in and it’s another pitcher, Aaron Solomon from Cumberland University.

2:40 PM – The Blue Jays just took UW Huskies catch Matthew Lane.

2:41 PM – Another Huskies player just came off the board, this time outfielder Zachary Clem to the Brewers.

2:48 PM – The Mariners latest draft pick is Gavin Dickey, an outfielder from Florida. At the very least he has a great name.

2:55 PM – Ryan Khoury was just drafted by the Red Sox. I considered putting him in my 15 guys to watch blog.

2:57 PM – Joseph Kantakevich, a pitcher from William and Mary, is the Mariners’ latest pick. I’m guessing the Mariners will be targeting Brad Boyer soon because this is the point in the draft they took him last year.

2:58 PM – Never mind, there goes Brad Boyer to the Giants, another 15 guys to watch “finalist” if you will.

3:02 PM – The Phillies just picked Zach Penprase, a guy who I wrote a little blurb about a while ago on my blog. He stole an insane amount of bases this year and had a good average and on-base percentage to go with it.

3:05 PM – The Mariners just picked Jared Baehl, a high school third baseman from Indiana. I don’t know what to make of this pick. High-schoolers picked at this point are generally guys with lots of talent that aren’t likely to sign.

3:11 PM – Toddric Johnson, a guy I considered putting in my 15 the Mariners are hopefully looking at, was just drafted by the Athletics.

3:15 PM – The Mariners just picked Andrew Fiorenza, a pitcher from Clemson. Another cool name.

3:26 PM – MLB radio just did their recap of rounds 11-15 and did not mention any of the Mariner draft picks. I was particularly interested to see if they would mention Jared Baehl but they did not, which makes me really wonder what Seattle was thinking with that pick.

3:27 PM – Yes, another Mariners ad on MLB radio! It was the Big Richie ad, my personal favorite.

3:37 PM – The Mariners went local with their latest pick and went with Austin Bibens-Dirkx from Portland. He’s yet another pitcher with a cool name.

3:39 PM – The Orioles just picked Justin Johnson, another guy I looked at putting on my 15 players to watch list. He played at the University of Illinois-Chicago, not a big school or a big conference, but he is a solid fielder and if memory serves me right holds the school record for home runs. He batted .395 with a .482 OBP and .703 SLG this year.

3:47 PM – And the Mariners select…Daniel Brunzler, a left-handed pitcher from UC-Riverside.

3:48 PM – Tommy Lasorda announces every Dodger draft pick like they’re a hall-of-famer. Unless a prospect is a Giant fan, I don’t see how they could avoid being excited when they hear Lasorda announce their name as a draft pick.

3:50 PM – The Padres just took Tyler Mead, a local product out of Skyview High School.

3:52 PM – Jay Miller, an outfielder from WSU, was just drafted by the Phillies.

3:57 PM – The Cardinals just took Nathan Southard, another player I considered putting in my 15 to watch blog, with the last pick in the seventeenth round.

3:59 PM – The M’s last pick of the day is Kameron Mickolio, a pitcher from Utah State Valley College. He’s huge at 6’9”, 256 pounds.

4:00 PM – Tommy Lasorda had a brief farewell address before the Dodgers’ last pick, thanking Major League Baseball and Dodger owner Frank McCourt before delivering the Dodger pick with his usual bravado.

4:01 PM – The Rangers selected Michael Wagner, another Washington State Cougar.

4:06 PM – The Cardinals finished up today’s final round with Amaury Cazana Marti, an outfielder who did not go to school. I can’t believe I made it through all 18 rounds and I can’t believe the Mariners drafted so many pitchers! As for players that I have looked at that are yet to be drafted, I really hope the M’s are looking at first baseman Adam Amar and catcher Zach Dillon. I think Amar is extremely similar to Whit Robbins, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Twins. As for Dillon, I don’t know how good of a fielder he is, but I know he can hit and that he has extraordinary plate discipline. This season, Dillon batted .374 with a whopping 51 walks and only 18 strikeouts. Overall, it was a ton of fun listening to the first day of the MLB draft, though the Mariners draft left me wanting more. I can’t wait to hear what their scouting director Bob Fontaine has to say about their draft on the pre-game show tonight.